Whanganui and MidCentral DHBs determine Regional Women's Health Service process

Whanganui and MidCentral District Health Boards have directed their clinicians and management to draw up a development plan and specifications for the Regional Women’s Health Service (RWHS).
Last month, both boards resolved to support the Regional Women’s Health Service with secondary maternity and gynaecology services provided by MidCentral District Health Board (MDHB) at both Wanganui and Palmerston North hospitals.
The resolution passed by the boards provides a framework for the development plan including detailed specifications for the service across the two districts. This plan will include 24 hour/seven days a week specialist services provided by DHB-employed consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists.
WDHB and MDHB chief executives Julie Patterson and Murray Georgel say not only does the DHBs’ resolution drive the development plan but it also provides the Terms of Reference for the boards’ clinical and management staff.
Ideally, Mrs Patterson and Mr Georgel want the development plan signed off by the end of this year. They agree it will benefit from further expert advice which they intend to access through a series of workshops.
Mr Georgel says it’s envisaged that women’s health consumers, Maori and Pacific communities and health professionals, maternity service providers, primary care providers and Allied Health staff will be among those invited to participate in the workshops set to begin in August.
WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson says she’s delighted the two boards have committed to extending the regional service. She is confident that this will lead to improved patient services and, that it will help to mitigate the risks that the DHBs, and particularly Whanganui, face with regards to their workforce.
“As the resolution states, development of the plan includes an agreed process for engagement with all the health professionals who are involved in this service. Importantly, the two boards have agreed that we will have equal input into the development of the plan which, all going well, will be agreed to before the end of this year,” Mrs Patterson says. “We anticipate that the new Regional Women’s Health Service will take effect from 1 July next year.
“The collaborative way in which this plan is being developed is something I believe we can all celebrate.
As well as ensuring we have a managed transition to the RWHS governance and operational leadership teams the clinicians and management are committed to ensuring our stakeholders are kept well informed about the development plan process and the key decisions being made along the way.”